Playsh, the playful shell

Playsh is a ‘narrative-driven "object navigation" client, operating primarily on the semantic level, casting your hacking environment as a high-level, shell-based, social prototyping laboratory, a playground for recombinant network toys.’

More literally, playsh is a command-line interface that uses MUD and text adventure conventions to navigate and manipulate the web. Features include:

  • looking for patterns in source code.
  • navigating URLs geographically through ‘rooms’ or as a deck of cards in your hand (!)
  • opening feed items as ‘doors’.

Superficially, playsh appears to be a command-line interface for the web, though lacking the intuitive nature of YubNub, though Yubnub does lack the ability to pipe data from one silo into another. Though Webb’s motivations for exploring recombinant interfaces and playful metaphors are appropriate and valuable, playsh itself doesn’t seem to address these motivations.

Maybe I’m missing something, but it’s difficult to see the value here…


  1. my take to go beyond the command line part of this session (wow, it was geeky!) is that it was great to see that people are then part of the network in this application.
    You first browse (“walk”) then read the info or consume the service (take objects, chat etc…) but you also modify the world.
    It is clearly that last aspect that was the topic of the session for me.
    you are not only passive, you are an actor of the system by applying your view on it (able to annotate stuff), personalize it (modify the interface/keyboard layout with the world for instance) and modify it (change the code, tweak the service to make them better for you).
    Translate all the concept to the more “conventional” internet that we know…
    Call me crazy at will.
    Maybe the muffins I had had strong poppy seeds…


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